Each week, I gather a wide variety of links to education and education technology articles. All this feeds the massive review I write each December on the stories we are told about the future of education.

(National) Education Politics

Via The New York Times: “New U.S. Sexual Misconduct Rules Bolster Rights of Accused and Protect Colleges.”

Via The Atlantic: “A Step-by-Step Guide to Trump’s New College Sexual Assault Policy.” Shocking, I know, that the “grab ’em by the pussy” guy is not a friend to survivors of assault.

Via Chalkbeat: “How Trump’s tax law may have just gotten in the way of Betsy DeVos’ favorite policy.” The latter: vouchers.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Disaster-Stricken Colleges Will Get $63 Million in Aid From the Education Dept.” That is, three campuses in the University of Puerto Rico system.

There’s more US federal government news in the guns section below. Because of course. There’s also more US federal government news in the for-profit higher ed section below. Also to be expected.


Via The Atlantic: “How the Dutch Do Sex Ed.”

(State and Local) Education Politics

Via Blavity: “The Water’s Been Turned Off In All Of Detroit’s Public Schools After Tests Found High Levels Of Lead And Copper Contamination.” More via NPR.

I don’t have a complete list of all the education-related results from Tuesday’s elections. One note: Donna Shalala, who served as the Secretary of HHS under President Clinton and who’s been the president of several colleges, won her primary for a Congressional seat in Florida. This story, via NPR, was written before the primary: “3 Ways Education Is Influencing Arizona’s Midterms.” And via CNN: “Oklahoma legislators who opposed teacher pay bill are voted out.”

Via NC Policy Watch: “Ethics questions raised on DPI’s $6 million iPad purchase.” Let’s unpack some of those abbreviations: NC is North Carolina and DPI is Department of Public Instruction. Prior to the department spending $6 million on iPads, Apple spent more than $5300 on meals and lodging for state Superintendent Mark Johnson and five other education officials to visit the company’s HQ.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “West Virginia Commission Seeks Equity for Colleges. But Behind the Scenes, Gordon Gee Pulls Strings.”

There’s more news about teachers on strike in the “labor and management” section below.

Immigration and Education

Via NPR: “Texas School District To Send Teachers To Shelters For Migrant Children.”

Education in the Courts

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Purdue Global Demands Students Waive Right to Sue.” Ah yes, the ol’ “forced arbitration” trick that for-profit colleges love to play.

Via Edsurge: “General Assembly’s $1M Lawsuit Settlement Asks: Are Instructors Employees or Contractors?”

Via The Washington Post: “Justice Department criticizes Harvard admissions in case alleging bias against Asian Americans.” More via NPR.

“Every Generation Gets the Beach Villain It Deserves” – The NYT’s Nellie Bowles on tech billionaire Vinod Khosla’s attempts to restrict access to the California coastline near his mansion. (Some of Khosla’s education investments are listed here. His wife is also the founder of the OER organization CK12. Because “open.”)

Via The New York Times: “Judge Rules Against Alex Jones and Infowars in Sandy Hook Lawsuit.”

The Business of Financial Aid

Via NPR: “Student Loan Watchdog Quits, Says Trump Administration ‘Turned Its Back’ On Borrowers.” That’s the CFPB’s Seth Frotman.

Via The New York Times: “The Student Debt Problem Is Worse Than We Imagined.”

Inside Higher Ed takes a closer look at a game called Givling, a mobile trivia app “that promises winners a payout of up to $50,000 on their student loan debt.”

“One year into an experiment allowing colleges to award Pell Grants to incarcerated students, Trump administration officials look to be even more invested in the program,” Inside Higher Ed reports.

“Billions in federal financial aid is going to students who aren’t graduating,” says The Hechinger Report.

Via Eater: “Future parents are getting a chance at an $11,000 jumpstart on their future baby’s college education this September. The only catch: They have to brand their kid with the name of KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders. In a truly cynical sort of ‘race,’ the fried chicken chain has announced that it will award $11,000 in tuition to the first baby born on Sanders’s birthday – September 9 – that also has the first name Harland.”

The “New” For-Profit Higher Ed

“The Lifelong Cost of Getting a For-Profit Educationby The Atlantic’s Adam Harris.

There’s more news about that “new for-profit” Purdue Global in the legal section above. (And before you sic your PR team on me, yes, I realize that Purdue Global is not a for-profit, even though it’s mostly a rebranded Kaplan. But we need to pay attention to how the for-profit sector is continuing its exploitative practices – such as forced arbitration in the story above. Restricting a discussion of for-profits to the tax status of institutions isn’t terribly helpful right now, particularly as many for-profits are trying to say they’re not-for-profit.)

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos this week delayed for the second time a final decision on the federal recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, an oversight body the Obama administration had sought to eliminate,” Inside Higher Ed reports. ACICS oversees accreditation for many for-profit colleges and universities.

Online Education (and the Once and Future “MOOC”)

SDG Academy has joined edX.

Via the Coursera blog: “Announcing the Global MBA from Macquarie University.”

Meanwhile on Campus…

Read this by Andrea Long Chu: “I Worked With Avital Ronell. I Believe Her Accuser.”

Via PR Week: “Baylor used ‘mole’ to aid comms during sexual assault crisis.” The university faces lawsuits from former students alleging that the school mishandled sexual assault cases, and “Baylor football players have been accused of committing 52 rapes over four years,” Deadspin points out. So Baylor thought it would manage the message by infiltrating support groups rather than dealing with the actual problem.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As UNC Issues 3 Arrest Warrants Over Confederate Statue’s Toppling, Board Member Says It Will Be Restored.” More via The Washington Post.

Via The New York Times: “Feeling Suicidal, Students Turned to Their College. They Were Told to Go Home.”

Beloit College will no longer be affiliated with the embarrassingly ageist “Mindset List.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Board of U. of Iowa’s Turning Point USA Chapter Criticizes National Leaders, Then Backtracks.”

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Facing an ‘urgent’ area housing shortage, officials at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have issued a plea to professors and staffers: please rent out rooms to students.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Bucking a Boastful Trend, Stanford Will No Longer Brag About Its Application Numbers.”

There’s more campus-related news in the sports section below.

Yes, Guns Are Ed-Tech (and It’s So F*cked Up that I Had to Make This a Category)

Really great investigative work on Department of Education data on school shootings by NPR’s Anya Kamenetz, Alexis Arnold, and Emily Cardinali: “The School Shootings That Weren’t.”

Via The 74: “1 Killed, 2 Injured in Florida Shooting, One of Three Recent Incidents of HS Football Violence; At Least 43 Killed and 81 Injured at Schools in 2018.”

Via NPR: “Federal Commission On School Safety Holds Its Final Listening Session.”

Not gun-related, but putting this story here as it is about “school safety”: “Officer pepper-sprays fighting high school students in Las Vegas,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Wow. Wow. Wow. I cannot believe that this is the argument that ed-tech envangelists are gonna run with. (Yes, I can.) Via Edsurge: “Does It Make More Sense to Invest in School Security or SEL?” SEL is “social emotional learning,” of course. Both school security and SEL are deeply intertwined with surveillance and white supremacy. Good job, everyone.

Accreditations and Certifications and Competencies

There’s more accreditation news in the for-profit higher ed section above.

Go, School Sports Team!

Via Inside Higher Ed: “Michigan State University has been cleared in the National Collegiate Athletic Association investigation into whether it properly handled reports of sexual assaults committed by former university doctor Larry Nassar, according to the institution.” Infuriating.

Speaking of Michigan State and Nassar, via The State News: “Original MSU alumni magazine leaked.” “This version, solely focused on ex-MSU doctor Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse and issues surrounding it, was not distributed to alumni.” It was apparently scrapped by someone in the university administration.

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “Southern Illinois U. Says It Won’t Tolerate Activism by Athletes in Uniform, Then Backs Off.”

Gaming’s Not Just for Kids: What Educators Need to Know About Esports,” according to Edsurge. I’d say you should probably know a little about violent, toxic masculinity associated with gaming too. Ian Bogost writes in The Atlantic on “The Irony of the Jacksonville Mass Shooting,” where “two former athletes were killed playing a supposedly safer, video-game alternative to football.”

Labor and Management

Via NPR: “Teachers Strike in Washington State.”

There’s more on the legalities of who is an employee (and who is an independent contractor) in the “courts” section above.

The Business of Job Training (and Education as an Employment Benefit)

Deliveroo offers free OpenClassrooms courses to riders,” says Techcrunch.

This Week in Betteridge’s Law of Headlines

Will big brands disrupt higher education?Daniel Pianko and Carol D’Amico ask in Techcrunch.

"Is Growth Mindset the Missing Piece in the Equity Discussion?" asks Edsurge.

An Investor Argues for ‘Faster + Cheaper’ Education. Does His Formula Add Up?asks The Chronicle of Higher Education.

(Reminder: according to Betteridge’s Law of Headlines, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”)

Upgrades and Downgrades

Kevin Carey argues in Washington Monthly “Why More Colleges Should Treat Students Like Numbers”:

Students who log on to the LMS, download materials, click on lectures, and contribute to discussions are much less likely to drop out than students who don’t. Student engagement can now be measured in real time.

This is Reich’s Law: students who do stuff do better than student’s who don’t do stuff. Thank you, big data, for giving people this insight.

Here’s another example of the terrible potential (and the terribly obvious potential) of predictive analytics. Edsurge writes about application essays, asking if these could predict students’ success. It seems likely, however, if schools think that there’s something in an application essay that predicts a student won’t be successful or that they’re likely to drop out that schools will be unlikely to admit them in the first place.

Via 9 to 5 Mac: “Digital textbooks for iPad never took off, and here’s why.”

ProfHacker writes aboutGenius as an Alternative Social Media,” but if you’re looking for bro-free social media, I’d recommend looking elsewhere.

Speaking of bro culture company tech, “Oculus is bringing its Rift and Go VR headsets to classrooms around the world,” says The Verge.

And speaking of social media, The New York Times writes aboutBig Tobacco’s Global Reach on Social Media” and in particular how young people are being targeted. There’s a lot to think about here, as Natasha Singer rightly pointed out on Twitter, as this might related to Big Ed-Tech. But I think it’s worth noting too that Juul, one of the vaping companies marketing itself to teens, has a whole “mindfulness” curriculum. (So a real special shout-out to everyone in this week’s news who is trying to convince y’all that social emotional learning and mindfulness are some sort of progressive path forward.)

Via Techcrunch: “Amazon’s children’s book subscription ‘Prime Book Box’ opens to all in the US.”

Mindwire Consulting’s Michael Feldstein wrote a couple of times this week on the OPM market (that is, on the outsourcing of core technical and instructional infrastructure to third-party vendors): “The Boundaries OPM and What Lies Beyond: The SUNY Example” and “Noodle Partners and the Boundary of the OPM Product Category.”

The New York Times reviews the new documentary America to Me – “a searing lesson in school inequality.”

“Fiddling with Time in Classrooms: Whatever Happened to Block Scheduling?” asks Larry Cuban.

(Venture) Philanthropy and the Business of Education Reform

Via Chalkbeat: “Gates Foundation gives $92 million to networks of schools in latest reform effort.”

Venture Capital and the Business of Education

Learn-to-code company Codeverse has raised $10 million in seed funding from Listen Ventures.

Flatiron School (or WeWork, rather) has acquired the design school Designation.

Barnes & Noble Education has acquired

Data, Surveillance, and Information Security

Via Motherboard: “Spyware Company Leaves ‘Terabytes’ of Selfies, Text Messages, and Location Data Exposed Online.” The company in question: Spyfone.

Also via Motherboard: “Spyware Company Exposed ‘281 Gigabytes’ of Children’s Photos Online.” The company in question Family Orbit. Hello parents and schools: if you use spyware on the children in your care, you might actually be exposing them to more risk rather than preventing risk.

More on surveilling your children in the Evening Standard: “This child-friendly smartwatch keeps you connected to your child without screens.”

Via The Age: “‘It was creepy’: the parents opting out of technology in the classroom.”

Via Digiday: “A Japanese coffee shop will give you free coffee in exchange for your data.” The coffee shop is located on the campus of Brown University.

Via Adweek: “Google Is Collecting Your Data – Even When Your Phone Isn’t in Use.”

Via The Chronicle of Higher Education: “A University Took an Uncommonly Close Look at Its Student-Conduct Data. Here’s What It Found.” The university: Rutgers. Among the findings: “Business majors represented nearly 25 percent of all alcohol transports in the fall of 2016, despite constituting less than 12 percent of the student body.”

No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election,” writes ProPublica.

Research, “Research,” and Reports

From the Department of Education’s blog: “Back to School by the Numbers: 2018.”

Edsurge on a Gallup poll of superintendents: “The Biggest Challenge for District Leaders? Finding and Keeping Good Teachers.”

Edsurge on a YouGov/Microsoft poll of parents: “Survey Says: Parents Think Tech Companies Should Help Build Kids’ Digital Skills.”

The 74 on the latest PDK International Poll: “or First Time Ever, a Majority of American Parents Do Not Want Their Children to Become Public School Teachers.”

Inside Higher Ed on an Association of American Colleges & Universities poll: “Public May Not Trust Higher Ed, but Employers Do.”

Education Week on a Pearson poll: “Generation Z Prefers Learning From YouTube, Not Books.”

Via Chalkbeat: “New York spends more per student than any other state. A new study suggests it should spend more.”

Via EdWeek’s Market Brief: “What Works Clearinghouse Looking at Costs of Implementing Interventions.”

“Why Kids Want Things” – The Atlantic’s Joe Pinsker has “a conversation with a researcher who has studied materialism for almost 30 years.”

Icon credits: The Noun Project

Audrey Watters


Hack Education

The History of the Future of Education Technology

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